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Best High Calorie Dog Food For Weight Gain

Dog Food Nutrition May 25, 2019
high calorie

Best High Calorie Dog Food For Weight Gain

high calorie

Certain dog breeds are known for being long and lithe- the Greyhound is a great example. What you need to realize, however, is that there is a difference between a dog being lean and dog being skinny to an unhealthy degree.

Sudden weight loss is never healthy, though there are certainly other reasons why a dog might be underweight. If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, talk to your veterinarian and start feeding it a high-quality dog food for weight gain.

Keep reading to learn more about the dietary needs of underweight dogs and how to choose a healthy dog food for weight gain. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight gain.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks For Best High Calorie Dog Food For Weight Gain:

ImageProductFeatures

Best Overall

Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Food
  • High in protein and fat (30% protein, 20% fat)
  • Made with digestible carbohydrates for energy and fiber
  • Protein-rich chicken meal as the main ingredient
CHECK PRICE

Best Affordable

Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food
  • More affordable than many high-protein brands
  • Real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Free form corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives
CHECK PRICE

Best Grain Free

Merrick Grain-Free Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Numerous animal-based protein sources
  • Very high in protein (38%) with high fat (15%)
  • Grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas
CHECK PRICE

Best For Small Breeds

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed
  • Made with premium animal proteins
  • Contains 32% protein and 18% fat
  • Naturally grain-free with plenty of fiber
CHECK PRICE

Best For Large Breeds

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Recipe
  • High in protein (32%) with moderate fat content (13%)
  • Quality animal proteins like chicken and chicken meal
  • Formulated specifically for larger breeds
CHECK PRICE

Special Dietary Needs of Underweight Dogs

Some dogs are simply meant to be skinny – this is particularly true for active and working breeds. If you can look at your dog from the side, however, and clearly see its ribs, it could be underweight. There are a number of factors that can lead a dog to be underweight such as malnourishment, old age, and various health problems. If your dog is underweight, you may want to take it to the vet to make sure there isn’t anything going on under the surface.

Here are some things to look for in a good dog food for weight gain:

  • Calorie Density. The average dog burns about 30 calories per pound of body weight per day, so your dog may need more than that to gain weight. Look for a dog food that contains somewhere between 400 and 500 calories per cup.
  • Quality Proteins. Protein helps your dog build lean muscle mass for healthy weight gain and long-term maintenance. Look for quality animal proteins and at least 30% crude protein.
  • Healthy Fats. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy (calories) for your dog, so look for recipes with around 15% to 20% fat. Remember that it should come from animal sources as well, though plant oils can help ensure omega fatty acid balance.
  • Beneficial Supplements. No matter whether your dog is trying to gain or lose weight, balanced nutrition is essential. Fresh fruits and veggies provide natural sources for key vitamins and minerals – chelated minerals and probiotics are beneficial as well.

Also Read: 20 Best Dog Food Brands

Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for weight gain. Here’s what you need to know:

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Weight Gain

When it comes to weight gain for dogs, you want to make it slow and steady. If your dog puts on too much weigh too fast, he could end up putting on fat instead of muscle and that isn’t healthy. This is why high protein content is so important. Protein from animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish are the most digestible for dogs, so look for a dog food made with those ingredients.

Next to protein, fat is the most important nutrient – dogs need at least 5% in their diet, though something closer to the 20% range is ideal for weight gain. Again, most of it should come from animal sources (like chicken fat or salmon oil) but plant-based fats like flaxseed and canola oil can help ensure a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Outside of protein and fat, your dog needs digestible carbohydrates for energy and dietary fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of these and other nutrients, plus they are more bioavailable than synthetic supplements.

Your dog can also benefit from probiotics to support healthy digestion and to ensure that it’s absorbing all the nutrients from the food it eats.

Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for weight gain.

The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Weight Gain

The best dog food for weight gain will have the right balance of protein and fat, both from high-quality animal sources. It should be higher in calories than the average dog food, but not so much as to make your dog gain weight in an unhealthy way.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for weight gain that you should consider:

Best Breed Dog Food Overall for Weight Gain: Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 30% Min
  • Fat – 20% Min
  • Fiber – 3.8% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 535 kcal/cup

If you’re in the market for a super-high-protein recipe made with quality ingredients, try this Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food. It contains 30% protein and 20% fat, making it the perfect recipe to help your dog gain weight.

It features protein-rich chicken meal as the primary ingredient with digestible grains like brown rice and barley, plus plenty of fat from nutritious sources such as chicken fat and menhaden fish oil.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Chicken MealBrown Rice, Chicken FatDried Plain Beet Pulp,Ground Sorghum,Pearled Barley,Brewers Dried Yeast,Whole Ground Flaxseed, Menhaden Fish Meal, Egg Product,Menhaden Fish Oil,Salt,L-Lysine,Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product Dehydrated,Propionic Acid,Vitamin E Supplement,Ascorbic Acid,Organic Dried Kelp,Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate,Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin,Vitamin B12 Supplement,Vitamin A Acetate,Thiamine Mononitrate,Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,Citric Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement,Folic Acid,Iron Sulfate,Zinc Sulfate,Zinc Proteinate,Iron Proteinate,Copper Sulfate,Zinc Oxide,Manganese Sulfate,Manganese Proteinate,Manganous Oxide,Copper Proteinate,Sodium Selenite,Calcium Iodate, Natural Flavor,

Pros:

  • Very high in protein and fat (30% protein, 20% fat)
  • Made with digestible carbohydrates for energy and fiber
  • Protein-rich chicken meal as the main ingredient

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Very expensive compared to other brands

Best Affordable Dog Food for Weight Gain: Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 34% Min
  • Fat – 17% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max
  • Caloric Content:442 kcal/cup

Many high-protein dog food brands are expensive but this Crave Grain-Free Adult Dry Food is an affordable option.

Made with real salmon as the first ingredient, this formula is protein-rich and full of essential fatty acids to support your dog’s healthy weight as well as healthy skin and coat. This recipe is completely free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial ingredients and it is supplemented with chelated minerals and vitamins for nutritional balance.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Salmon, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Split Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Lamb Meal, Pea Protein, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Pros:

  • More affordable than many high-protein brands
  • Real salmon as the first ingredient
  • Free form corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives
  • Rich in essential fatty acids from animal sources

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Contains several plant-based proteins

Best Grain-Free Dog Food for Weight Gain: Merrick Grain-Free Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 38% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture– 11% Max
  • Caloric Content: 442 kcal/cup

If your dog has a sensitivity to grains, this Merrick Grain-Free Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe is a good option for weight gain. Loaded with 38% protein and 15% fat, not only will it encourage healthy weight gain but it will also support lean muscle mass.

This recipe features deboned beef and lamb meal as the primary proteins with grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. It also contains probiotics for healthy digestion and chelated minerals.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Pork Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Deboned Salmon, Salmon Oil, Blueberries, Organic Alfalfa, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

Pros:

  • Numerous animal-based protein sources
  • Very high in protein (38%) with high fat (15%)
  • Grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas

Cons:

  • Contains several plant proteins (pea protein and potato protein)
  • Some dogs are sensitive to beef ingredients

Best Small Breed Dog Food for Weight Gain: Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32% Min
  • Fat – 18% Min
  • Fiber – 4.0% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 370 kcal/cup

Formulated specifically for small breeds, this Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed dry food is a high-protein recipe made with premium meats like venison, lamb, and duck. It is naturally grain-free, made with garbanzo beans and peas for carbohydrate energy, and plenty of healthy fats.

This recipe contains 32% protein and 18% fat, making ideal for helping your small bred dog gain weight. Plus, with beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics, you can bet that it will keep your dog healthy and happy as well.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Egg Product, Duck Meal, Pea Flour, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried BiFidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, RiboflAvin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid.

Pros:

  • Made with premium animal proteins
  • Contains 32% protein and 18% fat
  • Naturally grain-free with plenty of fiber
  • Chelated minerals and probiotics

Cons:

  • Primary source of fat is plant-based
  • Fairly expensive compared to other brands

Best Large Breed Dog Food for Weight Gain: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Adult Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 7.0% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max
  • Caloric Content: 377 kcal/cup

If you have a large-breed dog who needs to gain weight, high protein content is important but you want to avoid too much fat to encourage lean muscle gains.

This Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Recipe is the perfect choice because it contains 32% protein and 13% fat, all from high-quality ingredients. This recipe features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the primary ingredients with digestible carbohydrates like peas and tapioca starch plus healthy omega fats from menhaden fish meal.

Click here to see full list of Ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Pea Starch, Pea Protein, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Fiber, Dried Egg Product, Fish Oil (Source Of Eicosapentaenoic Acid), Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, DL-Methionine, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vegetable Juice For Color, Salt, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil Of Rosemary.

Pros:

  • High in protein (32%) with moderate fat content (13%)
  • Quality animal proteins like chicken and chicken meal
  • Formulated specifically for larger breeds
  • Digestible carbohydrates like peas and tapioca starch

Cons:

  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

How Much Should You Feed Your Dog to Gain Weight?

Choosing the first dog food for weight gain is important, but you also need to know how much to feed your dog.

You shouldn’t just feed your dog as much as it will eat because that could lead to excess growth which might put it at risk for joint issues or other health problems – controlled growth is best.

Try feeding your dog small meals more often to give it a steady stream of energy throughout the day to help it grow.

When deciding how much to feed your dog at each meal, refer to the feeding recommendations on the package according to your dog’s age. Instead of using its current body weight, however, use your dog’s ideal body weight to determine how much to feed it per day.

What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?

Dog food allergies and sensitivities are more common than you may realize and, theoretically, a dog can develop an allergy to any food ingredient.

If your dog suffers from food allergies, you may need to find a product made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate. Novel ingredients are simply ones your dog hasn’t had before – something like duck, venison, or salmon instead of common proteins like chicken or beef.

Digestible carbohydrates like whole grains or grain-free options like sweet potato or peas are also available. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients in your dog’s food, the less likely it is that it will have a bad reaction, so a limited ingredient diet (LID) could be a good choice as well.

Also Read: The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Final Remarks

In addition to feeding your dog a high-quality dog food for weight gain, you should also make sure it gets plenty of exercise. While this may sound counterintuitive, exercise helps your dog build muscle and bulk. To get started shopping for dog food, try one of the top 5 best dog foods for weight gain that we have reviewed above.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
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